Twin Lions: Patience & Fortitude

Something about the last day of the year makes you want to spend it with someone important—like your best friend. So Black Jack and I met uptown to discuss our options. It just so happened that we ran into Magnus. Have you ever planned to do something with just one friend and then someone unexpected arrives? Before Magnus perched, Black Jack grumbled, "I don't want my fly-time messed up by a bookworm."


Magnus was visiting his favorite intersection in New York (Fifth Avenue and West 41st Street) to pause and remember 2011. When he asked us if we knew why this area is called John Bigelow Plaza, we shook our heads. Magnus said John Bigelow was a respected New Yorker. He was so well respected that he was offered nominations by two opposing political parties—at the same time!


Magnus told us this was a great place to see breakdancing, so we found some seats and enjoyed some "toprock" "floorwork" and "freezes." Black Jack, however, was more concerned with the 10 foot lion to our immediate right.


"Oh! You mean Patience?" asked Magnus. Turns out Patience is the lion on the south side of the plaza. He and Magnus have had 1,456 conversations on every New York Times Best Seller. Why? Patience guards the entrance to Magnus' favorite building in the city...


Black Jack soon realized there are perks to knowing a know-it-all bookworm: they know the best kept secrets for sliding down bannisters.


We flew around the McGraw Rotunda ceiling and talked about Prometheus. Did you know he was the titan that stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals? Do you know how Zeus punished him? I don't think I'll be giving fire to anybody as a gift any time soon. 


We visited Magnus' favorite research spot amid books, lamps, wooden desks and tucked in a corner just below the windows. We looked up the meaning of Black Jack's name and found out it is a game and a manga comic character. Someone was a little excited to learn this.


Do you ever get lost in books? Black Jack did... for the first time. 


As we left the library, we flew to the north side of the plaza to meet the twin brother of Patience: Fortitude. Black Jack was so giddy about discovering the library that he did a beak stand that would have made Penny proud. And that's when Magnus remembered: it was the Lion's birth year! They are 100 years old!


With 2012 just hours away, we decided to be patient about our earlier plans and instead, ask Fortitude his thoughts on the future. His deep, rumbling voice reminded us, "Face every day with a strong mind and a brave heart. Be patient with yourself and others."


May Patience and Fortitude guard you and guide you in your Jolly New Year!